On this episode of 'Inbound & Down,' co-hosts Jon Sasala and Danielle Esposito are joined by Chive Account Manager Melissa DellaBartolomea (aka DellaB) to discuss the shiny new content plan we rolled out in late 2018.
The hills are alive with the sound of content plans.
We've been talking about content plans since season one, but if you happen to need a refresher:
Content Plans document our keyword research, personas and goals, AND OUTLINE what content already exists and what needs to be created to positively influence rankings and best help potential customers.
Every year after INBOUND, we come back with a slew of great ideas. Some wither over time, but others climb out of the ideation phase and blossom into something beautiful.
Cue Content Plan.
Danielle and DellaB discarded any existing content plan notions, and started with a fresh, blank canvas. What was the most accessible format for both internal and external understanding? A checklist.
Step 1. Content Audit
This happens before the onboarding sprint—whereby we meet with the client to learn specific objectives, set expectations, and develop execution strategies—and enables us to enter that initial meeting knowing what they already have. Download any ebooks, white papers, testimonials, etc., and document it all. Then categorize it based on title, content type, Buyer's Journey stage, and buyer persona. Additionally, add a link to the content and any notes you have.
There are many reasons to start with this step; it gives you a working list of all the content that's created, what can be upcycled, what fits into what cluster, etc. etc. etc.
STEP 2. Conduct Keyword research
Here, you'll discover keywords essential to the client based on what was discovered during the onboarding sprint, from competitor analysis and current site rankings.
Our ol' trusty pals SEMrush and Moz will help you through this step.
Step 3. Build Buyer Personas
Based on initial research and the onboarding sprint, you'll be able to build fully fleshed-out versions of your client's buyer personas. These help you determine who are the most valuable visitors and leads, and what type of content to create for them.
Step 4. Set Marketing Goals
The goals serve as a guide for us internally, but also help set expectations on the client side about their growth timeline. Growth is gradual. We've broken it down into loosely three timespans/categories:
Months 4–9: Top Performance Indicators (TPIs)
TPIs are small steps towards LPIs, the foundation of our marketing efforts.
- Organic Traffic
- Ranking for Industry Terms
- Social Engagement
MONTHS 10–16: Lead PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (LPIS)
These are predictive metrics that lead to KPIs, derived from content that influences evaluation and consideration.
- Click-Through Rate
- Email Analytics
MONTHS 16+: Key PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (kPIS)
Designate with revenue in mind. Metrics that equal conversions/rev.
- Demo/Offer Sign-Ups
- Consultations Booked
Step 5: Create Content Mission Statement
Your Content Mission Statement is a declaration of what your content is trying to achieve so anyone at any time can write with the full picture of the content plan in mind. For a detailed breakdown of Content Mission Statements, listen to our Season 3 episode on the subject.
Step 6: Customize from Content Toolbox
Now, after all this research, you'll be able to accurately choose what type of content is best for your client from your content toolbox.
Types of content offerings may include:
- Pillar Pages
- Cluster Blogs
- LinkedIn PULSE Pieces
- Thought Leader Pieces
- CEO Quick Chats
- Case Studies
Step 7: Create Pillar-Based Content Plan
The final piece. Put all of your assets together in a 90-day plan, starting with a pillar and moving onto the other formats.
Each 90-day plan will follow this format:
- 1 Pillar Page
- 6 Cluster Blogs
- 1 eBook/Download (can be upcycled from the audit)
- 1 Infographic/Visual
- 1 Piece of Revolving Door Content
- Revolving Door Content switches out every 90 days, depending on the client's specific needs:
- Thought Leader Piece
- LinkedIn PULSE Piece
- Case Study
- CEO Quick Chat
The plan is flexible, and can differ based on each client's needs for a given time.
Document your processes
This is extremely important to do, across the board. When you have everything in writing, it ensures all employees and clients are on the same page. It also enables you to step out of the day-to-day routine and question why it is you do what you do, and how you do it. You can then sew up any holes and streamline your process.
If you're unsure of how to start your own content plan, or just need a jumping off point for inspiration, it's your lucky day, because now you can apply our content plan to your business.
Enjoy, and create great content!
Download our Content Plan Template
Key Takeaways From This Episode:
- Create a content development plan for your business. You probably already have the beginning inklings of one, you just need to dig deep and document them.
- Content Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing
- 'Inbound & Down' S03 E17: How To Create Resource Pillar Pages
- 'Inbound & Down' S03 E16: Content Mission Statements
- Review: 'Trailblazing Your Client's Content Marketing Strategy'
- A Look Inside The Buyer's Journey
- 'Inbound & Down' S1 E10: Why You Need A Content Plan
Questions about our content plan template? Comment below, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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